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California and the West

Amgen Posts Quadrupling of Its Profit

The drug maker earns $967million. Revenue rises 16% to $3.2 billion, but sales of three key products fall short of analysts' expectations.

October 20, 2005|Denise Gellene | Times Staff Writer

Biotechnology giant Amgen Inc. reported sharply higher third-quarter earnings Wednesday, led by sales of its anemia drug Aranesp.

The Thousand Oaks-based company had earnings of $967 million, or 77 cents a share, compared with $236 million, or 18 cents, for the year-earlier quarter, when results where hurt by charges related to the acquisition of Tularik Inc. of South San Francisco.

Revenue increased 16% to $3.2 billion from $2.6 billion in the third quarter of 2004.

"Our performance was strong and gives us real momentum as we look toward 2006," Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Sharer said during a conference call.

But investors punished Amgen's stock because sales fell short of expectations. The shares fell to $74.48 in late trading after ending the regular session at $78.09, up $2.22. Amgen released its third-quarter results after the close of regular trading.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 21, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
Amgen sales -- An article in Thursday's Business section about Amgen Inc.'s earnings said Enbrel, a drug for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases, had sales of $688 million in the third quarter. The drug had third-quarter sales of $668 million.

Excluding charges related to acquisitions, Amgen said that it had net income of $1.1 billion, or 85 cents a share, compared with $839 million, or 64 cents, in the same quarter a year ago.

Although Amgen's net income was in line with expectations, sales of three key drugs -- Aranesp, Neulasta and Epogen -- fell short of Wall Street forecasts.

Sales of Epogen, Amgen's mainstay drug, plunged 12% from the same quarter last year to $599 million. Amgen said patients switching to Aranesp hurt Epogen, an anemia drug sold exclusively to kidney dialysis patients.

Aranesp sales rose 38% to $840 million, slightly below Wall Street estimates. The drug is used mostly by cancer patients suffering from anemia brought on by chemotherapy.

Sales of Neulasta, a drug that spurs production of white blood cells, rose 28% to $577 million, below Wall Street forecasts of $600 million. Cancer patients weakened by chemotherapy take the drug to fight infections.

Sales of Enbrel, Amgen's drug for rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases, rose 35% to $688 million, in line with expectations.

Sharer said that Amgen would "aggressively fight" an antitrust suit filed against the company last week by Johnson & Johnson. But he refused to give detailed answers to questions about the suit -- or the sale contracts that sparked the litigation.

The suit alleges that Amgen is illegally using discounts on white blood cell drugs, where Amgen has a monopoly, to drive sales of Aranesp and force a competing J&J anemia drug from the market.

"We are confident of the legality of our contracts," Sharer said.

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